What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?
Written by: DR. JESSICA VARTANYAN, PSYD, LMFT
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? If you have been in search of a therapist, you probably have come across the acronym before, but what exactly is this therapeutic modality? Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence based practice, meaning it has substantial scientific evidence as a clinically effective approach in treating common diagnoses such as anxiety and depression. The basic tenet of CBT is that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are interconnected.
So what do CBT sessions typically look like? A cognitive-behavioral therapist supports clients in identifying unhealthy thoughts and replacing them with healthier ones. Some of these unhealthy thoughts and beliefs (aka cognitions) can be about ourselves, others, and the world. These are learned from past experiences, culture, family of origin, mass media, etc. and exist as vague ideas of “what should be” (Dattilio & Goldfried, 1998). Cognitive-behavioral therapists work collaboratively with clients in changing unhealthy cognitions while psychoeducating (providing information) on important topics such as healthy communication, healthy sleep patterns, neuroscience of anxiety/depression, etc. Each session typically ends with the therapist and client collaboratively finding a homework assignment based on the session content to be completed before the next session. Homework assignments is an important component in CBT as it provides an opportunity to practice new skills learned in sessions, and therefore, allows for creating positive and lasting change.
My personal thoughts on CBT? In selecting a particular theoretical model for working with clients, I found myself drawn to CBT from the very beginning. I greatly appreciate the value CBT places on psychoeducating clients; after all, knowledge is power! I believe individuals come to therapy wanting to learn new ways to approach/view things, and to understand themselves better. Thus, I believe CBT is a great option as a therapeutic approach for those who are interested in developing greater insight and creating positive changes in thoughts and behavioral patterns.
I hope this post helps you in finding what fits your therapeutic needs!
Dattilio, F. M., & Goldfried, M. R. (1998). Case studies in couple and family therapy: Systemic and cognitive perspectives. New York: Guilford Press.
Written by: DR. JESSICA VARTANYAN, PSYD, LICENSED MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST 108362